Coburn's office fires back at Landrieu for late-night vote blame

The office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) fired back at Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on Sunday for accusing Coburn of forcing the Senate's drawn-out schedule.

Coburn's office said that the Senate's staying in session until Christmas Eve, as well as the late night votes on Friday and Monday were due to Democratic leaders and other rank-and-file members trying to secure favorable agreements for their states.

"Actually, we’re still here because Senators were trying to get better deals for their states than Senator Landrieu received," Coburn communications director John Hart told reporters in an email. "Many, like Senator Nelson, succeeded."

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Landrieu said that Coburn, who'd forced the reading of a healthcare amendment earlier this week (a tactic employed later in the week by other Republicans), was to blame for the vote planned Monday at 1 a.m. on healthcare, as well as the scheduled vote for final passage on Christmas Eve.

Landrieu secured $100 million in federal disaster relief funds for Louisiana before voting with her party to begin debate on the healthcare bill, while Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) received funding restorations for Nebraska's Medicare Advantage programs before announcing on Saturday he'd support his party's healthcare bill.

"There's only one reason we're going to be here until Christmas, and that's Sen. Tom Coburn," Landrieu said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Hart replied in part defending the extended debate, and laying blame for the vote scheduling at Democrats' feet.

"In the last 24 hours, the CBO has announced that it made a $500 billion error in its cost estimate," Hart wrote. "What else might taxpayers discover about this deal in the next few days?"

He also noted:  "The Majority Leader alone sets the Senate schedule, which is a privilege not a burden."